EVERY once in a while a game arrives which blows the competition out of the water. Leaderboard Golf was one of these, and when it first arrived on the C64 it marked the beginning of a new era in computer sports simulation. Not least because it made computer golf a playable game.
Before very long the much anticipated sequel arrived in the form of Leaderboard Tournament. Using exactly the same formula as the original the new game added features like the driving range, hole skipping and tougher courses.
The Amiga versions of both games promised, once again, to be standard setters and so they are – with a few extra features to boot. But since they’ve been around for a while, US Gold has revamped the re-release with a two disc pack for the price of one. Considering the bundle includes a score card, maps and stand-up club power guide, it represents very good value for money.
The game is played entirely in 3D, viewed from behind the golfer. At the start of each shot you select a club from three woods, nine irons or a pitching wedge. The distance to the hole is displayed to aid your decision, even though the flag may be hidden by trees, across a lake or whatever.
Next, using the mouse a small cross-hair is positioned to set the direction of the shot.
Now comes the tricky bit. Pressing the right mouse button starts the back-swing and the power meter starts to climb. Releasing the button sets the power and starts the downswing phase.
After the downswing comes the snap indicator. Correct timing here is essential to ensure the ball is hooked or sliced the way you want.
On the beginner level, the snap feature is disabled as are the winds – yes, it includes every golfer’s nightmare – making things a lot simpler until you get used to it. Some other obstacles are always present, of course. The tees for example – a ball on the rough is worth two in a tree. And last but not least the bunkers and lakes – just as tough as real life, I assure you.
When you make it to the green the club selection changes to a putter automatically. Now you have to judge the shot power and angle given the lay of the green and the distance of the hole.
Even if you already have one of the originals, Birdie is well worth the outlay. If not, get it anyway.